How to make your own eco-friendly Christmas crackers

We pull Christmas crackers with friends or family, then dispose of them the same day. Often, they can’t be recycled. 

This year, why not get crafty and make your own Christmas crackers? You can use spare materials around the home, as well as adding a personal touch to the festive season. Here’s our easy guide to making eco-friendly Christmas crackers. 

Christmas crackers

Choose your materials

When making sustainable Christmas crackers, avoid buying new materials as much as possible. Think how you’d like your crackers to look, and look around your home for inspiration. 

Do you have the odds and ends of Christmas wrapping paper you can glue together? Has some brown paper been sitting in the drawer for years? Is there leftover wallpaper tucked away that you can repurpose? Cut or create your outside material to be A4 size. 

You will also need: 

  • Cardboard tubes – e.g. kitchen roll or toilet paper holders
  • Compostable cracker snaps – optional, if you want your crackers to make a noise when pulled
  • Ribbon, string or twine – whichever you have available
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue

How will you decorate your crackers?

Washi tape (a biodegradable alternative to plastic tape) often comes in decorative patterns. You can stick it to the outside of your eco-friendly Christmas crackers to add detail. 

Alternatively, use stencils to draw shapes and patterns. Elaborately decorate the paper with lace, ribbons, fabrics and small trinkets. You could even paint different festive designs onto your crackers. 

What will you fill your crackers with?

Say goodbye to useless plastic toys that get dropped straight in the bin. When you make your own Christmas crackers, you have the opportunity to personalise each one. Put something in you think each guest would like to receive. Will that be a chocolate or a sweet treat? A handmade origami shape, piece of jewellery, small trinket, or keyring? Maybe you could gift them a wooden tree ornament, or other eco-friendly Christmas decorations? 

Try writing your own jokes, or pick out some favourites online. Include a piece of interesting trivia on the reverse of each sliver of paper. 

The 10 steps to make your own Christmas crackers

Once you’ve gathered your materials, tools, decorations and fillings, you’re ready to make your eco-friendly Christmas crackers. 

  1. Download and print, in A4, a Christmas cracker template from online – we like this one
  2. If you’re decorating the outside paper for your cracker, do this now. If using paint or glue, leave it to dry. 
  3. Position the outside piece of paper face down, with the shorter edges at the top and bottom. Place your cardboard tube/s in the middle, lengthwise. 
  4. Place the template underneath the piece of paper. Cut out the diamonds using your craft knife and ruler. Alternatively, gently score the paper in two parallel lines where you want to twist and close the cracker, making sure not to cut through. 
  5. Wrap the paper around the cardboard tube/s, making sure it’s straight, and secure the edge with tape. 
  6. Carefully twist one end of the cracker and almost close it where the cardboard tube begins, leaving a small hole.
  7. Feed the cracker snap through the hole and tie a bow with ribbon or twine. 
  8. Fill the cracker from the other end with the jokes, trivia or trinkets. 
  9. Twist this other end and secure it with a ribbon. 
  10. Cut off any cracker snap that’s showing, and add any extra charms or place names.